Egypt has withdrawn from Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) talks in Geneva in protest over the failure of the international community to implement a resolution for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons.
On Monday, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying the country ended its participation in the two-week talks over other nations’ failure to implement the 1995 resolution, which calls for the creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region.
“We can’t wait forever for the implementation of this decision,” the ministry’s statement said.
The walkout was meant “to send a strong message of non-acceptance of the continued lack of seriousness in dealing with the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East,” the statement pointed out.
The second session of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons started on April 22 and will continue until May 3 in Geneva.
The meeting is to review progress in implementing the 1970 NPT, a treaty to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.
On the first day of the conference, former Egyptian Ambassador to Geneva Hisham Badr said, “Egypt and many Arab countries have joined the NPT with the understanding that this would lead to a Middle East completely free of nuclear weapons.”
“However, more than 30 years later, one country in the Middle East, namely Israel, remains outside the NPT,” he said.
Cairo has time and again urged Tel Aviv to sign the NPT and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect its nuclear facilities, a call rejected by Israel.
Israel reportedly maintains between 200 and 400 atomic warheads, but under its policy of so-called nuclear ambiguity, it has never denied nor confirmed its possession of the weapons of mass destruction.
Furthermore, the regime has never allowed any international inspection of its nuclear facilities.
Tel Aviv has also refused to join the IAEA, which limits members to civilian uses of nuclear technology.